Major Changes Proposed for CRA
The Civil Rights Department, in conjunction with the Police and City Attorney’s Office, have proposed a major change (scroll to item 9) to the Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA). If passed, the CRA would essentially cease to exist, and be replaced by an advisory board to the Police Department. Internal Affairs and the Civilian Review investigatory functions would basically be merged.
The current CRA board is not supportive of this proposal, and has recommended its own improvements to the civilian review process. Though I understand the problems this proposal is attempting to solve – including the Legislature and Governor’s recent terrible decision to prohibit our CRA from making findings of fact, and the fact that the CRA cannot communicate its disposition of complaints – I have serious concerns about merging the police department’s internal affairs with the civilian review authority and making the citizen/civilian component advisory only. It also removes the residency requirement and focuses more power with the chief.
Given these concerns, I will not support this proposal in its current form. I would note that the Star Tribune has also editorialized against this proposal.
When this was presented to the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health committee on July 25th, I successfully moved to have staff provide an analysis of how this compares to a reform proposed by the current Civilian Review Authority board and conduct community meetings on the changes. The proposal is set to return to the committee on September 12 for a public hearing at 1:30pm.